6-Sulphatoxymelatonin secretion in different locomotor activity types of the blind mole rat Spalax ehrenbergi

R. Ben-Shlomo, E. Nevo, U. Ritte, S. Steinlechner, G. Klante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


6-Sulphatoxymelatonin (aMT6S) excretion was examined in the urine of rhythmic and arrhythmic blind subterranean mole rats (Spalax ehrenbergi) to test the correlation between melatonin secretion (as represented by aMT6S) and variability in circadian locomotor activity. Activity pattern was tested in four males, first for a week under short photoperiod [light:dark (LD) 10:14], followed by 10 days in constant darkness (DD). After several months the experiment was repeated under long photoperiod (LD 14:10), followed by DD conditions. Under LD conditions all animals exhibited aMT6S excretion during the dark phase, with a decline just before the onset of light. No correlation was found between activity pattern and melatonin secretion. The animal with the highest melatonin secretion both under LD and DD had an arrhythmic locomotor pattern. The results suggest that in mole rats melatonin secretion and circadian locomotor activity are controlled by two different mechanisms. There were large differences in the aMT6S levels among individuals, suggesting the importance of duration of melatonin secretion over amplitude for gonadal development and thermoregulatory changes. During summer, i.e., before the breeding season, the animals keep a more stable aMT6S secretion than in winter, and the amplitude of secretion is higher under DD vs. LD conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pineal Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1996


  • 6-sulphatoxymelatonin
  • Activity rhythm
  • Mole rat
  • Photoperiod

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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